AMERICAN SAMOA LOOKING FOR LOST MOTOR OIL

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PAGO PAGO, American Samoa, (Samoa News, Aug. 5) - At first
glance nothing seemed wrong, but after doing an investigation, ASEPA found that
a serious problem was emerging. Thousands of gallons of discarded oil were
missing.

According to sources at the government's Office of Motor
Vehicles (OMV), there are approximately 10,715 registered vehicles in the
territory, not including the American Samoa Government (ASG) vehicles. An annual
oil change for each of these vehicles should produce approximately 10,715
gallons of used oil. Only 5,000 gallons were collected this past year from
automotive shops and used oil collection centers; therefore, 5,715 gallons are
missing.

The big question is, "Where is this oil?" This is an
enormous amount of unaccountable discarded oil. An oil change for an average car
engine requires 4 quarts, that is 1 gallon of oil. Who is responsible for this
missing oil and where could it possibly be stored.

As the cost of oil is not getting cheaper, could the motive be
someone is unscrupulously 'making a quick buck' by reusing the oil? Not
according to American Samoa Environment & Protection Agency (ASEPA) leads.
How could anybody pull such a scam without getting caught or anyone noticing.

The problem is even more serious than the missing thousands of
gallons, considering that the amount of missing oil has been increasing annually
for many years. The disturbing news is that all this used, discarded oil is not
being stored safely in a tank somewhere but is being improperly disposed of,
which means probably being spilled onto the ground. And who is doing this?

Well, it's everyone in American Samoa who does his or her own
oil change and does not take the used oil to an established oil-collection
center on island.

Used oil drained out of a motor contains toxic chemicals such as
benzene, lead, zinc, cadmium and arsenic. When this oil is spilled on the ground
it infiltrates the soil and ends up in our ground water.

The American Samoa Power Authority (ASPA) pumps the ground water
to your household taps for drinking, bathing, washing, etc. Plants also take up
these chemicals, and when we eat their fruits or vegetables we eat the chemicals
also. Drinking and eating these toxic chemicals can cause cancers and kidney
damage, as well as learning disabilities and delays in physical and mental
development in children.

Everyone who changes the oil on his or her vehicle or other
motorized appliance is responsible for properly disposing of the used oil.

There are 6 gas/service stations in American Samoa that provide
this used-oil collection service free of charge.

Remember, if you dump it, you drink and eat it.

August 12, 2003

Samoa News: www.samoanews.com 

 

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